Obama signs veterans suicide prevention bill into law News
Obama signs veterans suicide prevention bill into law

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official website] on Thursday signed into law [press release] the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act [HR 5059] in order to combat increasing suicide rates among American veterans suffering form post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The act was passed by a unanimous Congress and is intended to facilitate veterans’ access to mental health resources, as studies have shown that suicide rates are higher among those who do not receive any type of mental health care. Obama explained [remarks] that this law was created to remedy a national issue and will require not only the services of the Department of Veterans Affairs [official website], but also recognition and aid from those in the community. The act was named in honor of Clay Hunt, a Marine from Texas who struggled with post-traumatic stress and committed suicide at the age of 28. Selke and other members of Hunt’s family engaged in lobbying efforts after his death to address veteran suicide.

The National Center for PTSD [official website] is committed to facilitating research addressing the prevalence of PTSD among veterans in order to communicate the causes, assessment, and treatment of traumatic stress disorders. Earlier this month Obama proposed [press release] a $168.8 billion budget increase for the Department of Veteran Affairs for fiscal year 2016, $7.5 billion of which is to be allocated towards mental health. In 2014 JURIST Guest Columnist Raymond Toney addressed the prevalence [JURIST op-ed] of PTSD among American Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Kellam emphasized findings from the American Journal of Public Health [official website], which indicated that 39 percent of returning veterans abuse alcohol and many also self-medicate. In 2009 the US Supreme Court reversed a death sentence [JURIST report] of a veteran who suffered from PTSD and was convicted of murder.